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Brown's Territory

October 1999
Dan Nitz, president and CEO of Brown Printing, talks about industry consolidation, his projections for e-commerce—and Brown's formidable offset printing intentions for its Midwest territory.


The power of print. Dan Nitz, president and CEO of Brown Printing, believes this power will stay in place for some time, even though print will be enhanced and, yes, compromised at times, by the rise of e-commerce and Internet traffic. While conventional in some views, Nitz is also a visionary. He understands the nature of commercial printing—and its logical, likely evolution.

Recently, Printing Impressions spoke with Nitz at his Waseca, MN, office. Sharing his thoughts on Brown Printing's current status and industry projections for 2000, Nitz reveals big growth plans for Brown Printing. He voices his views on industry consolidation—and why some companies are acquired—as well as his thoughts on the necessity of digital prepress and Brown's philosophy for putting ink on paper.

Brown Printing, Nitz reports, has become the leading trade, business and consumer special interest magazine printer in the country. This is exactly what Nitz and team set out to do when Brown management divested three divisions in 1997 and concentrated key resources toward serving special interest titles.

PI: With January 2000 now in plain view, what kind of year was 1999 for Brown Printing?

Nitz: Overall, 1999 has been a good year for Brown Printing. We are well on our way to fully assimilating our latest acquisition, Graftek Press, which was made two years ago. Since that time, we have invested more than $60 million in the Woodstock, IL, facility, located just outside of Chicago. And we expect to continue investing there until our long-range goal has been met—to have the finest, state-of-the art, offset publication plant in the Midwest.

With the addition of Graftek, Brown Printing has become the leading trade, business and consumer special interest magazine printer in the country. This is exactly what we set out to do when we divested three divisions in 1997 and decided to concentrate all of our resources and energy toward serving these two market segments. We have also grown our catalog printing operations, our third major product niche. Selected acquisitions of printing companies serving our primary niches remain on our near-term agenda.

PI: What about the customer side? How was 1999 for Brown?

Nitz: We were successful in adding several new multi-title customers to our base, while at the same time renewing contracts with several long-time customers. We saw pages from our customer base being relatively stable with the exception of pages from the computer technology sector, which fell between 10 percent and 20 percent. Although print orders remained stable, the lack of pages—particularly in the computer market—pushed printing volume for various titles down significantly. In total, circulation for special interest titles has shown mixed results this year.

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